The Problems and Cost of Illegal Dumping

The Problems and Cost of Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is quickly becoming a global problem. Cleaning up unsightly, hazardous garbage sites are mandatory, because they can easily pose a number of health risks, cause environmental damage, and contribute to urban blight. Used automobile tires that have been discarded to the side of a road, or in a rural area, can harbor mosquitoes when they contain stagnant water. Dump site mosquitoes can then transfer diseases such as West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus. Batteries and other electronics that have been disposed of unlawfully are easily combustible, igniting fires that cause air pollution and contamination of nearby ground water.  But what about the costs?

Unfortunately, for many heavily-populated municipalities, cleaning up illegal dump sites is no affordable task. Thousands of dollars are spent on clean-up crews and the equipment needed to haul the waste away. HAZMAT crews are brought in to assess any environmental concerns, as well as possible site contamination. Without a proper means of deterrence, as soon as one dump site is cleaned, another one quickly springs up in its place.

While the costs incurred because of illegal dumping varies from city to city, the means is almost always the same. For example, the average cost per year associated with cleaning up illegal dumping in San Francisco is 10 million., and according to Baltimore Public Works their cost in 2017 was $21,164,771.00. These figures are the norm for large cities who are struggling to combat the problem of illegal dumping.

With so much money being poured into cleaning illegal dump sites, these budgets would be better allocated to other areas of spending. If illegal dump sites were deterred and eradicated, the funds could be transferred to better use such as public transportation and community beautifying. What is your city doing to stop illegal dumping?

Illegal Dumping and Deadly Mosquitoes

Illegal Dumping and Deadly Mosquitoes

All across the U.S., cities and towns everywhere are dealing with the threats posed by the crime of illegal dumping. In addition to such issues as urban blight and the negative environmental impact, public health and wellness can also be adversely affected by illegal dumping.

Illegal dumping brings many different health risks to both the environment as well as to the people of the community in which the act takes place. Of these health risks, some of the most dangerous are introduced in the form of vector-borne illnesses carried by a very common insect, the mosquito.

The mosquito is an insect that can be found in nearly every part of the world. Sporting a large familial community of about 3,500 different species, mosquitoes have adapted and evolved to thrive in any environment befitting their particular need, which include breeding. Illegal dump sites are the perfect breeding ground because a female mosquito can lay as many as 200 eggs at a time in an amount of water no larger than half a teaspoon. After these eggs hatch, the “pre-pubescent” mosquitoes then become larvae, often called “wigglers” due to their movement in the water. The third stage of a young mosquito’s life is called the “pupal” stage. The “pupal” stage is the final step before becoming an adult mosquito, and thus, becoming a threat to human health.

Nowadays, it is not at all uncommon to read about the latest cases of West Nile or Zika viruses afflicting the population of a nearby town; diseases which are solely transmitted by the common mosquito. Malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever are diseases that are also spread exclusively by the mosquito, the transmission of which can have deadly consequences for those afflicted.

Because the entirety of a mosquito’s pre-adult life is spent in water, certain habitats easily benefit the excessive breeding of this deadly insect. Used automobile tires, an item often found in illegally dumped waste piles, provides this perfect mosquito nursery habitat. Other unlawfully dumped items, such as plastic trash bags placed outside proper trash receptacles, also have the ability to retain rain water and supply mosquitoes with a place in which to lay their eggs.

One of the few ways to combat these mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent the crime of illegal dumping using illegal dumping cameras.  How is your city combating illegal dumping?

Prevent Illegal Dumping and Harmful Bacteria

Prevent Illegal Dumping and Harmful Bacteria

Illegal dump sites can contain many different types of solid waste. Used and discarded mattresses, bags of garbage, automobile tires, and construction refuse are all commonly dumped items that have been unlawfully disposed. These piles of illegally dumped trash can be found in both rural and metropolitan areas all over the U.S. Illegal dumping most often occurs in areas where perpetrators of the crime cannot be seen or caught while committing the act.

Because the crime of illegal dumping occurs nearly everywhere, the health risks directly inflicted by unlawfully discarded waste threatens the entire community where this crime takes place. The consequences of illegal dumping occur all too often. Entire bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers, can easily become contaminated by hazardous materials being dumped illegally nearby. Fragile ecosystems can be rendered irreparable due to damage sustained by illegal dump sites.

Illegal dumping is a perfect breeding ground for thousands of different types of bacterium. These bacteria replicate and thrive in the decaying waste that composes an illegal dump site. Rotting food, dirty diapers, and restroom waste all contribute to the health hazards imposed by illegal dumping and the bacteria these sites harbor.

Bacteria are microorganisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye, and as such, don’t seem like a substantial threat until these pathogens infect a host; as anyone who’s ever developed a serious infection would attest to. While some species of bacteria are considered beneficial, the bacteria infesting an illegal dump site are downright dangerous.

Salmonella bacteria, which are common to uncooked poultry and eggs, can easily make its way into garbage and contaminate the entirety of an illegal dump site in less than a day. Consequently, any animal or human that comes into contact with the contaminated site can spread this dangerous pathogen and further infect common areas where the bacteria thrive. A member of the Salmonella family, Salmonella typhi is the bacterium responsible for the dreaded Typhoid fever. E. Coli is another harmful bacteria that can infect soil and contaminate ground water where it quickly replicates. E. Coli is often introduced via garbage at illegal dump sites and can be spread by both humans and animals. There are over 2,000 different strains of dangerous bacteria that are available to thrive in the environment illegal dump sites provide.

Efforts to try to control outbreaks of these dangerous pathogens are proving futile. With each new generation of bacterium becoming more resistant to treatments of anti-biotics, a new means of control must be established. Basic abatement and prevention of excessive bacteria breeding grounds, like illegal dump sites, can only help future generations of people who may otherwise become infected by these deadly microorganisms.

Illegal Dump Sites Attract Crime

Illegal Dump Sites Attract Crime

Illegal dumping is a crime that continues to infect many cities throughout the U.S. The problem grows alongside the piles of unlawfully dumped waste, negatively affecting the community in which the act takes place. When illegal dump sites are not quickly cleaned up, the problem often compounds itself in a type of “snowballing” effect, leading to further recurrences of the crime.

As this problem continues to grow exponentially, the attitude incurred by the community is one of negative negligence. The unsightly scene of illegal dump sites can lend to emotions that the community members do not seem to care about what happens to their neighborhood. The community can then become vulnerable to further acts of crime, such as vandalism and other public nuisance crimes, creating an atmosphere of an unsafe and crime-filled environment.  The community neglect can then lead to further issues concerning various social disorders.

Community members experiencing crime-induced social disorders can become suspicious of others, which can then lead to depression and anxiety. This anxiety can cause weak social bonds between community members and, unfortunately, incite further crime which gains a stronghold in their neighborhoods.

As Charles E. Kubrin and Ronald Weitzer wrote in their New Directions in Social Disorganization Theory article describing crime commonly occurring in specific neighborhoods, “…weak social networks decrease a neighborhoods capacity to control the behavior of people in public, and hence increase the likelihood of crime.”

Given that illegal dumping can lead to further instances of crime, it is of the utmost importance for communities everywhere to promptly clean up dump sites and prevent illegal dumping.

What to do:

  • Implement tough legislation against illegal dumping
  • Take proactive measures to enforce the law